Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Business Logic Is One Thing - but We've Lost the Buzz of a Matchday

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Business Logic Is One Thing - but We've Lost the Buzz of a Matchday

Article excerpt

THERE were times in Newcastle United's last home game against Stoke City when you could have heard a pin drop among a crowd of 47,763.

Apathy appears to have seeped in at Newcastle and it's no surprise given the way the current campaign is limping along.

Urged to make some noise before the game by John Carver before being uninspired by an abject first half it was easy to forget that this once powerful temple of football had teams quivering in their boots.

Not teams like Stoke City, teams like Barcelona, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. Beating the likes of Manchester CIty, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton used to be expected.

Sadly, there was an air of inevitability when plucky Potteries battlers Stoke equalised in the final minute.

Remember this is 2015 where the modern Newcastle United represent a nervous bunch of players made up of free transfers, home grown players and developing players from the Continent who have arrived for a knockdown fee on the proviso that Newcastle can be a stepping stone to better things.

It's a far cry from days of the past when teams were built by attracting big names from Europe. Even the last days of Freddy Shepherd, in which he cobbled sponsor money together to attract star names like Michael Owen, Patrick Kluivert (on loan but on huge wages) and Jonathan Woodgate offered some hope.

We've not nudged past Bobby Robson's fifth place finish in the Premier League back in 2004. A divisional placing that was deemed not good enough and pretty much earned Sir Bobby the sack months later, remember.

In contrast the fifth place finish for Alan Pardew was deemed as Newcastle punching above their weight in 2012.

Sat in 11th place and seemingly spluttering their way to 40 points this season, St James' Park represents a depressing shell of a venue that once had fans singing and dancing in the stands.

Remember the extension of St James' came about because the demand for season tickets was so huge EVERYBODY wanted to be part of it. But that's because the product on the pitch was attractive, vibrant and caught the imagination of the Geordie public.

We keep going back to the days of Kevin Keegan. He said back then: "You have to give these fans what they want."

Fast forward to modern day and arguably the supporters and season ticket holders are getting the exact opposite of that.

Don't get me wrong, the way Newcastle have bottomed out the finances and got the club back into the black should be applauded.

Teams like Leeds, Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest have proved that getting it wrong financially or underestimating the perils of the Football League can prove costly.

Don't forget United and Boro went down hand in hand in 2009 and while the Teessiders have ended up on a slippery slope in the Championship, in comparison finishing 12th, 5th, 16th and 10th is a success story. …

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